Hey, it’s Monday, which means (in BART’s words) “protesters may attempt to disrupt BART service during the afternoon commute period…in downtown San Francisco BART stations.”
As always, the demonstration’s expected to begin at 5 PM. Less usual is where it’s expected to happen, and just who might be appearing at the protest.
The group began its protests after BART shut down cellphone service at several stations during a separate protest over the shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill.
Hill was shot and killed on July 3 by BART police after he allegedly threatened officers with a knife and a broken bottle, police said.
Dr. Rupa Marya, a former doctor of Hill’s, will be in attendance at the protest today aiming not to disrupt commuters “but to educate a population that may need to pause and think about the value a human life has,” she said in a post on her Facebook page.
Corby Sturges, who commutes to San Francisco from the East Bay, will be leaving work early to make sure he can get out of the city before the demonstration begins. He called the protests “misguided.”
“Interfering with the commute is not making much of a difference at BART headquarters,” Sturges said. “The more effective protest would be focused at BART headquarters (rather) than commuters.”
He said his colleagues have also become frustrated with the protests.
“Not sure disrupting the commute is the way to do it,” Sturges said.
Kate Svinarich, who commutes to San Francisco from Oakland, called the protests “more irritating than convincing.”
Someone fed up with the protests has set up a Facebook page titled “Commuters Take Back BART.” The page states there will be a counter-protest against the Anonymous protest tonight.
“BART commuters are sick and tired of ‘protests’ interfering with our right to use public transit, so we can earn a living and get back to our families,” the site states.
“Let’s take back BART from these misguided protesters and show them they are way outnumbered and will not shut down BART again,” it reads.
That’s not the only counter-protest mulled this evening — according to Matier and Ross, LGBTQ groups angered by the recent release of revealing photos said to be of BART spokesperson Linton Johnson were considering a counter-protest tonight against Anonymous, but according to KQED “has been cancelled after Anonymous made assurances that they have no malice against LGBT people.”
BART shut down cellphone service in the stations during a protest on Aug. 15 and has closed multiple downtown stations in response to each protest.
Last Monday’s protest resulted in the closure of the Civic Center and Powell Street stations and the arrest of about 40 people by San Francisco police.
The protests are also making an impact on Muni, which estimates that they have spent an extra $70,000 on station agents and parking control officers to deal with the Monday service disruptions. During each of the protests thus far, Muni Metro is disrupted, and cable car service is replaced by shuttle buses. “Many of the above-ground lines on Market Street were subject to delays” as well, reports the Ex.
BART spokesman Jim Allison said that tonight, there will be a similar BART police presence in the stations to that of previous weeks.
“We support peaceful protests so long as they’re outside the fare gates,” Allison said.
Allison said, however, that if protesters are demonstrating inside the station, they could be arrested.
He cited a California penal code section that states that anyone who “hinders the safe and efficient operation of the rail line or rail-related facility is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Here’s what everyone else has to say about tonight’s civil action:
BART police serve as critic’s focal point [AP via Ex]
“Even when BART hikes fares, cuts service and its computer system crashes stalling the entire system, the police department still comes in for the most vocal and vehement criticism.”
‘Anonymous’ to Protesters: Stay Out of BART Stations [BC]
“But the call may fall on deaf ears. Although Anonymous is publicizing the protests, it is not the only group participating in them. And it’s not clear whether its members represent the majority of the demonstrators.”
Another Monday protest against BART, but this time a counterprotest planned by riders [The Capricious Commuter]
“some of BART critics are urging that the protesters upset with BART focus their efforts on criticizing the transit system police force – and not focus on closing stations.”
Counter-Protesters Plan to Join Anonymous at Afternoon BART Demonstration [KRON]
“Will Tran reports police could be seen Monday morning erecting barricades inside the Civic Center station in apparent preparation for the demonstrations.”
MD Who Treated Man Shot and Killed by BART Police Will Join Monday’s Protest [ML@L]
“she writes, ‘It is hard to watch our civil servants (police) brutally handle a person and their body when I spend my time and energy as a civil servant (physician) honoring the dignity of that person….'”
Activist Says LGBT Protest Over Leaked Linton Johnson Photos Called Off [KQED]
“While many people speak for Anonymous we have been told the group was largely against the release of the Linton Johnson photos, and that they are not planning any similar tactics (sexual images) in the future.”
The Real Safety Threat? BART Encouraging Violence Against Protesters [IndyBay]
“So, BART claims they ‘can’t control’ what violent people do in their stations. Is that really the message the agency really wants to be sending out to the riding public?”
New BART Protest Planned; Impact On Muni Tallied [KCBS]
“Muni officials estimate the agency has spent $70,000 to bring in more station agents and parking control officers to cope with the service disruptions during the three demonstrations so far.”
BART protest costs spilling over to Muni operations [Ex]
“The SFMTA has no immediate plans to ask BART for a reimbursement from the costs incurred by the protest.”
BART, commuters brace for another protest [ABC7]
“Police are worried about emotions running high and have said they are not going to be as lenient as they have been during past demonstrations.”
BART foes refocusing for protest today [Ex]
“Recent media accounts have depicted BART passengers as increasingly annoyed with the protesters disrupting their commutes. Consequently, some in the protest movement have suggested carrying signs asking police not to close the stations.”
Flack photo flap [Chron]
“”These are blatantly homophobic and racist attacks from what I’ve seen,” Jeffrey Johnson, Linton’s partner of 12 years, told us Friday.”
Commuters Weary As All Set for Tonight’s Protest [ML@L]
“Around the Mission, Many were also unclear as to why there was a protest at all.”
BART protest organizers: Stay off the platforms [Chron]
The actions have been nonviolent, but some protesters have sought to ratchet up their intensity by carrying hammers, turning over trash bins and lighting firecrackers.
Zack Farmer and Scott Morris of Bay City News contributed significantly to this report